In time for the festive season, Hong Kong’s BEDU restaurant and bar has launched an exciting new menu by new head chef Ali Ahmadpour.
Anyone who loves innovative Middle Eastern cuisine will know Gough Street’s pint-sized hideaway BEDU. The epitome of the neighbourhood haunt, the restaurant, with its courtyard setting and vibrant atmosphere, has been an institution on the street since it opened in 2018. Now, BEDU enters a new chapter with the arrival of talented chef Ali Ahmadpour, who presents an insightful new menu inspired by the nomadic wanderings of the Bedouin.
For eons, the Bedouin tribes roamed North Africa’s deserts and the Middle East’s rocky sands, their journeys, guided by the night stars, influencing a rich culinary tradition punctuated by flavoursome spices and cooking methods that have been passed down through generations. During a busy weekday evening, we ventured down to Gough Street to see the passionate Iranian-born chef in action as he presented modern approaches to the timeless flavours, textures and traditions of Persia, Turkey and Jordan.
Ice arrive at the bustling 42-seat restaurant on a warm weed day evening and kick off with a couple of signature Amunet cocktails, Olmeda blanco tequila, lemon juice, lavender and grapefruit cordial, ginger syrup, and homemade grapefruit soda, the perfect cure for what ails you and best matched with the Olive Parvardeh, a popular Persian cold mezze of green olives, ground walnuts and both Jordanian pomegranate molasses, for a touch of tartness, and the sweeter Persian version.
It’s then that the innovative BEDU spice box makes an appearance, showing the key spices – including Sumac, Baharat, Za’atar, Dukkah, Saffron and Smoked Paprika – that define Middle Eastern cuisine, and which are presented in an ornamental display. It’s fun hint at what’s to come.
Chef Ali’s understanding of Middle Eastern flavour combinations – garnered through time spent working in leading restaurants in Iran and Oman before he moved to Hong Kong to work with the Meraki Hospitality Group – is immediately apparent as we dive into the starters from the new menu. While the Lentil Hummus is an earthy, nutty and delicious take on the classic, this time inspired by the Persian Adasi lentil stew; and the Spinach Labneh, which takes its cues from the Turkish yoghurt spinach dip caçik, is as silky and seductive as chilled bed sheets, there’s something remarkable about to emerge from the oven.
BEDU’s Crunchy Feta is the kind of dish that used to start wars – picture a perfectly baked Feta cheese, lovingly wrapped in crispy filo pastry and then liberally drizzled in thyme-infused honey. If you eat one dish before the end of the year, this should be it.
Of course, the Feta is just a highlight from a star-studded line-up. The Persian-style Spinach Nargesi, cooked spinach with spices, yoghurt, toasted walnuts, a sunny-side-up egg, and fresh lemon, with requisite mountain of piping hot pita bread on the side, could just as easily double as a brunch staple and takes its name from the Narcissus flower because of its vibrant colours.
Another Persian pleaser is the Roasted Eggplant; I’ll admit it’s not my favourite vegetable but this dish, inspired by the Persian Borani, a classic yoghurt-based eggplant dip, is enough to change even the most stoic mindset. Chef Ali roasts the eggplant until tender and serves it with sour labneh for a touch of acidity that’s balanced with homemade pomegranate molasses, crispy garlic and Bedu spices.
Moving onto something a little more substantial, the Persian Prawns dish sees whole king prawns grilled to perfection and served with the fiery Hamiseh sauce popular among the Indian migrants of Iran’s Hormozgān province; while the Beef Kofteh is pure carnivore heaven, with succulent grilled beef skewers topped with saffron butter.
The curious might also like to try the Truffle Duck Tangine, a North African rift with pistachio and egg yolk; and the Slow Cooked Chicken, served with chermoula chili and ‘Middle Eastern chimichurri’.
However, you’ll want to leave time for chef Ali’s Baghlava Mille Feuille flaky Baghlava pastry layered with vanilla ice cream, crushed walnuts and almonds, and finished with caramel drizzle. It will make you want to delete your trainer’s number and walk home out of guilt but some indulgence’s are worth the sacrifice.
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